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The South Asian Insider

Trump-DeSantis rivalry approaches boiling point

(SAI Bureau) The long-simmering tensions between former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) are nearing a boiling point amid signs that DeSantis and his team are actively moving toward a 2024 presidential run. DeSantis’s national ambitions have long irked Trump, who sees himself as the Florida governor’s political benefactor and the GOP’s presumptive 2024 nominee. But Trump’s frustration became more apparent over the weekend, when he called out DeSantis during his first major campaign swing. “If he runs, that’s fine. I’m way up in the polls. He’s going to have to do what he wants to do, but he may run,” Trump told The Associated Press in an interview after a campaign appearance in South Carolina on Saturday. “I do think it would be a great act of disloyalty because, you know, I got him in. He had no chance. His political life was over.” It wasn’t the first time that Trump took direct aim at DeSantis, but his latest comments come amid signs that the Florida governor’s presidential ambitions may be taking on a more tangible form. Advisers to DeSantis have begun reaching out to potential hires, including several veteran Republican staffers and operatives, according to a person familiar with the moves. The Washington Post reported over the weekend that two top DeSantis campaign veterans — Phil Cox and Generra Peck — were involved in discussions about a 2024 run. DeSantis, who has largely avoided talking about any potential 2024 plans, hasn’t yet made a final decision on a run, though Republicans almost unanimously believe that a presidential campaign is a near-certainty, with a potential announcement expected later this year after the Florida state legislative session wraps up.That belief has put him and Trump on an almost-inevitable collision course as they vie for dominance within the GOP. “I do think DeSantis is going to run. Ninety-eight percent chance,” one Florida Republican operative said. “If you’re DeSantis, I think you’d love to wait until 2028. But you have a particular window. You have to keep the name ID up.”“On the other hand, I think Donald Trump knows this is his last chance to run,” the operative added. “The idea of trying again in four years — that’s just too much of a reach, even for him.”
In addition to criticizing DeSantis’s loyalty over the weekend, Trump also accused him of “trying to rewrite history” when it came to his response to the COVID-19 outbreak, telling reporters that “Florida was closed for a long period of time” at the onset of the pandemic.